UPDATE 1-Goldman Sachs bolsters Asia mergers team amid rising volumes

Thu Jun 5, 2014 12:07am EDT

* John Kim named new head of M&A for Asia ex-Japan

* Kim replaces Richard Campbell-Breeden, who becomes chairman of M&A

* Asia M&A volume up 88 percent so far this year (Recasts, adds detail on rising Asia M&A volumes)

HONG KONG, June 5 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs has named John Kim as its new head of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for Asia ex-Japan and will relocate Christos Tomaras from London to join that team, amid surging deal volumes in the region.

Kim takes over from Richard Campbell-Breeden, who will become vice-chairman of the investment banking division for Asia Pacific ex-Japan, and chairman of M&A for the region, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.

In that role Campbell-Breeden will focus more on advising the investment bank's most important clients in the region.

The appointments come as Asia Pacific M&A volumes have surged almost 88 percent to $298 billion so far this year from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data. That makes it the best start to the year on record, surpassing 2008, the data show.

The increased activity has also pushed up the Asian share of global M&A to 20.3 percent from 18.4 percent a year ago, the data shows.

Hong Kong, where Goldman Sachs is reinforcing its M&A team, has been particularly busy.

China's CITIC Pacific Ltd in May announced a landmark deal to buy $36 billion of assets from its state-owned parent CITIC Group Corp, China's biggest and oldest financial conglomerate..

The next biggest Asian acquisition this year is Singaporean state investor Temasek Holding's $5.6 billion purchase of a 24.9 percent stake in Hong Kong's A.S. Watson.

The third largest also involves Hong Kong, with Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp buying Hong Kong's Wing Hang bank in April for $4.95 billion.

Kim, who was Goldman's co-country head of South Korea and joined the firm in 2000, is moving to Hong Kong from Seoul, the U.S.-based investment bank said.

Goldman Sachs confirmed the content of the memo. (Reporting by Denny Thomas and Lawrence White; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Joseph Radford)

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